Welcome to the Fall of 2016!
On behalf of the MA Program in Political Science – United Nations and Global Policy Studies (UNMA), welcome back to campus and to the fall semester.
We want to give a special welcome to our great new incoming class, many of whom have engaged in impressive work in global affairs. We also want to welcome Dr. Dilafruz Nazarova as Director of Development, Dr. Roland Rich who is now a full-time instructor in the Department of Political Science and the UNMA, and Director of Research Internships, and Dr. Mazen Adi, who will serve as Director of United Nations Relations.
A lot has happened since the end of the spring semester. We are offering several new courses this academic year, including Counter-Terrorism and Democracy, East Asian Politics and Security, the Political Economy of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, American Foreign Policy in Times of War, Narratives of Wealth, Inequality and Power, Water and Security, Human Trafficking and the United Nations, Global Environmental Politics and a new course on cyber security. Next summer we hope to offer the Politics of Food (In)Security.
Currently, Dr. Nazarova and Dr. Adi are developing a new advanced course on United Nations institutions and processes. This course will take students to the UN to meet with officials who have been involved in important activities, such as promoting sustainable development, fighting terrorism, empowering women, organizing peace keeping missions and a variety of other activities.
Another initiative is to develop online courses which include faculty specialists aboard, and developing “course sharing,” whereby UNMA courses will be offered simultaneously with online courses at universities in other areas of the world. Here both courses would share the same syllabus, readings and assignments, while the administration of each section of the course would reside with the UNMA and the respective university in question.
This past summer, the UNMA offered the first such course, “Post-Communist Transitions in Eastern Europe and Central Asia,” which was taught by Dr. Michael Rossi. It included lectures by 5 specialists on East European, Russian, Ukrainian and Central Asian politics, including our own Dr. Dilafruz Nazarova and Dr. Jan Kubik, former chair of the political science department who is now Director of Slovanic Studies at University College London.
The UNMA has been asked by UNITAR to develop a non-credit bearing certificate training program for UN diplomats and agency personnel in New York City. We plan to offer the first Rutgers-UNITAR Training Institute next January and March which should open many more opportunities for students in the UNMA to have access to the United Nations.
The first European Summer Institute (ESI) at the International Center for Development and Decent Work (ICDD) – the administrative unit of the International Labour Organization’s Global Labour University – was very successful. Courses were offered in International Trade, the Global Governance of Fiscal Crises, the Political Impact of Austerity Policies on the United Nations, the Left Turn in Latin American Politics, and Origins of Radicalism and Instability in the Contemporary Middle East.
We hope to be able to offer the 6 week ESI again next June and July. There are plans by the ICDD to develop the trip to Geneva, where many UN agencies are headquartered (the former seat of the League of Nations), as a credit bearing course. If so, we hope to offer our students the ability to take that course as well.
To assist students with their careers and employment, the UNMA is applying for funds to develop 2 Professional Development Workshops which take students to New York City and Washington, DC, where they will meet with UN agencies, think tanks, US government agencies, and NGOs. The Program also seeks to offer the first Rutgers Global Policy Roundtable at Marymount Manhattan College in early 2017 where representatives from the UN, the private sector, the international legal community, and NGOs will offer an evening panel on skill sets in a variety of areas which student will need for developing careers as global policy analysts. A reception will follow the presentations.
Our youth project continues to move ahead under the recently acquired domain name, “Youth for Youth International.” We have already received funding to train youth leaders in Iraq and are applying for additional funding from a number of foundations. We will have more news on the project throughout the fall semester.
We have begun a new column on our UNMA Facebook page, “UNMA Students on the Move.” We encourage all students to submit short articles on activities in which they have been engaged in the past or are now engaged in which relate to global affairs. Please send these submissions to Dr. Nazarova for publication.
On the 15th anniversary of 9/11, I encourage you to watch a moving tribute from relatives of those who lost loved ones and from first responders. It’s called “Objects of Memory,” and was shown on PBS today. http://www.pbs.org/program/objects-and-memory/